Have you ever gone to a restaurant and none of the main courses strikes your fancy? But the appetizers sound really interesting? But because you want to do the â€œright thingâ€ you go ahead and order a soup or salad to start, a main course and perhaps a dessert? Often what I really want to do is just order two or three appetizers and itâ€™s only in the last 10 years that I have felt confident enough to do thatâ€¦what will this behavior do? Screw up the service for those at the table who ordered â€œnormally?â€ Invite the ire of the waitstaff who probably think I am trying to save on my meal (and I am too dumb to order the kiddie portions instead)? Result in inadequate food intake and feel hungry later in the evening? At any rate, I have increasingly ordered this way to get different tastes, try more dishes and eat what I really want. I think this is the reason that I am so drawn to Mediterranean cuisineâ€¦Spanish tapas, Italian antipasto, Greek mezzes (?) that translate into small plates with different vegetables, seafood and sausages/hams/meats that burst with flavor and are so much fun to eatâ€¦
In Barcelona, the tapas bars were everywhere. But many were targeted primarily at tourists and you had to sift through the places if you wanted to go to a good one. Our strategy was to find more hidden or off the beaten path places that still had crowds. On our last evening, we went to a tapas place about 5 minutes from where we lived and sat down to an early dinner. We didnâ€™t eat out for dinner too much in Barcelona as we had a kitchen but we decided this was the evening to try everything we wanted. We started with an order of SUPERB chorizo from jabugo, thinly sliced and filling a small plate (photo up top.) It was one of the finest I have ever tasted, flavorful, oily but not overly so, just the right amount of salt. We also had several hams and like the rest of the hams we had on our stay, they were excellent. We also ordered some olives and pickled onions and the small platter that arrived was just far too much for three diners. The amount of salt we would consume if we ate even 1/3 of that plate would be enough to jabugo-ize ourselves.
We had a plate of tomato bread of course and the substantial country bread was dense and flavorful and when toasted retained a nice crust on which the freshly prepared tomatoes were spread. I know this is a staple in Barcelona and with tapas, but frankly, I wasnâ€™t too keen on it if the bread started to get too soggy. My wife and daughter liked it soggy, I liked it crusty. We also got a sampler plate of Spanish cheeses and it arrived with over 6 kinds of cheese that I canâ€™t even remember the names of! We also ordered the potato cake or omelet that is almost always good wherever you order it in Barcelona. I have tried so many times to replicate this in Manila but I always get a messâ€¦I donâ€™t think our potatoes are the right kind to get the soft, not soggy, non oily version that is served in tapas bars.
We also ordered tuna which was served in a spicy tomato sauce (no photo of that and the cheese as my shaky hands and dark surroundings in general made photography nearly impossibleâ€¦not to mention embarrassmentâ€¦). We ordered bacalao which came in a creamy concoction that my wife liked but I found just way too salty. Of course we had to get some grilled red peppers as well. Needless to say, we overdid it. With a carafe of red wine, we were utterly stuffed and I thought I was going to die of high salt intake. After heading elsewhere for dessert (the Kid wanted a last helado), we got home, drank tons of water and hoped we wouldnâ€™t expire during the course of the evening. Almost everything was delicious and it was a great “Last Supper in Barcelona.”